Economic Performance, Individual Evaluations and the Vote: Investigating the Causal Mechanism

Article in a refereed journal

Michael Becher and Michael Donnelly, "Economic Performance, Individual Evaluations and the Vote: Investigating the Causal Mechanism", The Journal of Politics, vol. 75, n. 4, 2013, p. 968-979. doi:10.1017/s0022381613000959.

Abstract

This article examines the mechanism of electoral accountability that provides the predominant normative motivation for the literature on economic voting. Building on recent advances in the statistical analysis of causal mechanisms, we jointly estimate the relationship between objective macroeconomic performance, individual economic evaluations, and the incumbent vote in 151 elections in 18 established democracies. We find that the real economy matters for economic evaluations and that evaluations matter for vote choice - conditional on political institutions. An improvement (decline) of economic performance leads to an increase (decrease) in positive economic evaluations among voters that translates into an increase (decrease) in the support for the party of the chief executive. This chain of accountability is stronger in an institutional context where policy-making power is concentrated rather than dispersed.

IAST Discipline

Political Science
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